Experienced Dog Bite Attorney in Macon, Georgia
If you or someone that you love has been a victim of a dog bite, The Sessions Law Firm would like to help you recover for your injuries. Most dogs are “man’s best friend” and, without question, considered to be America’s favorite pets. With the exception of certain breeds, dogs can be wonderful companions, however, certain owners can result in these animals being dangerous. Certain breeds of dogs in combination and bad/irresponsible owners can result in catastrophic consequences.
What Is the Average Recovery for Victims of Dog Bites?
Through 2014, the average recovery by victims of dog bites continued to rise. Obviously, some of the increase is attributable to an increase in the cost of medical care:
I.I.I.’s analysis of homeowners insurance data found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased 4.7 percent in 2014. However, the average cost per dog bite claim was up 15 percent to $32,072 in 2014, compared with $27,862 in 2013.
The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 67 percent from 2003 to 2014, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing, according to Loretta Worters, vice president with the I.I.I.
Source: Insurance Journal
When Is the Owner of A Dog Liable for A Bite in Georgia?
Some states in America follow what is called the “one free bite rule”. Contrary to what many people think, Georgia does not follow this rule, and the owner of a dog may be liable to the victim of a dog bite even if the dog has not bitten someone previously.
Under Georgia law, dog owners are legally responsible for their dogs actions if they have notice that their dog has a propensity to be dangers – to bite. If the owner has knowledge that their dog is a threat to others, they must take action to maintain tight control over their animal or have it put down. Dogs are well known in American culture, but nonetheless, they are still animals and can be unpredictable. If you have been hurt in a dog attack, the key question is do you have a valid case against the owner?
Two avenues for a dog bite case to be successful:
- 1) The dog that attacked you was outside of a fence or off a leash in a Georgia County or City that has fencing and or leach laws.
- 2) The dog that attacked you has a provable history of aggressive behavior towards humans that the owner was aware of.
Currently, Georgia does not hold that there is strict liability for dog attacks. The dogs owner must be on notice that the dog is dangerous or must be breaking the law for them to be liable for their dogs actions. Under the Responsible Dog Owner Act, owners have increase criminal punishments and are required to get additional insurance following a dog attack. The law allows for dogs to have “one free bite” before they are considered dangerous and thus putting the owner at risk for being responsible for subsequent attacks.
The State of Georgia does not qualify any specific breeds as being vicious. The law defines a vicious dog as one who has seriously injured a human.
In the event of a dog bite, it is unlikely that those insurance requirements are going to be enforced. We believe dog bite cases usually come down to eye witness testimony. We will start by interviewing neighbors and analyzing public records to paint a clear picture of the dog’s nature toward humans.
One of The Essential Tasks that Your Dog Bit Lawyer Must Undertake Is Finding Adequate Insurance to Cover a Dog Bite Injury.
Insurance can be critical to your ability to receive compensation for your dog bite injury. Many renters own dangerous dogs or dangerous dog breeds and if they do not have adequate insurance you will have no means to pay for medical bills. Even worse, is if the responsible party does not have any assets to pay the judgment, your case can be a waste.
Experience Combatting Insurance Companies
Dog bites often fall under homeowner’s insurance coverage. The insurance companies investigators will be hard at work the moment a claim is filed to discredit your claim and protect the person they insure. This includes photographs of the scene,witness statements, and anything in their power to avoid paying out your claim.
Every insurance company has their own approach and tactics when a claim is filed but most companies seeks to settle the claim as quickly as possible. The faster an issuance company can settle a claim the less likely it is that they will be responsible for any additional medical bills that may arise as a result of the injury. Everyone would like to receive ample compensation for their injuries as quickly as possible, however you should be weary of accepting a settlement too quickly, doing so could leave you high and dry if you have additional medical expenses in the future. There is no need to rush to a settlement following a dog bite. The injuries you have sustained could require extensive surgeries or leave you permanently disabled. The state of Georgia, in most cases, allows for a two year period in which you may file a lawsuit on a claim.
There are other issues that can arise for a person who has been injured in a dog attack. For example, your health insurance company will pay for your medical bills but they may try to obtain reimbursement from your settlement from the dog owner’s insurance. At The Sessions Law Firm, we know how to properly handle your claim in order to avoid your settlement from being poached by medical health care providers.
What is the Value of a Dog Bite Claim?
Associating a numerical value with a personal injury claim resulting from a dog bite can be very complicated. These calculations include: evaluating the nature and extent of the injury, the economic losses that are recoverable, and the liability issues related to the dog attack. Insurance companies will always seek to pay out the least amount of compensation possible that is why it is critical you obtain competent legal counsel that knows how to institute litigation if necessary in order to help you and your family obtain the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack The Session Law Firm urges you to seek legal counsel while pursuing a claim. Dog bite cases can be tricky and insurance companies will always seek ways to escape a claim without paying you the full amount you deserve. At The Sessions Law Firm, we work hard every day to ensure you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.
The Sessions Law Firm, LLC
544 Mulberry St., Ste. 319
Macon, GA 31201
Phone: (478) 254-2665